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Harnessing bacterial power in microscale actuation
Lab Papers (GRASP)
  • A. Agung Julius, University of Pennsylvania
  • M. Selman Sakar, University of Pennsylvania
  • Edward Steager, Drexel University
  • U Kei Cheang, Drexel University
  • MinJun Kim, Drexel University
  • Vijay Kumar, University of Pennsylvania
  • George J Pappas, University of Pennsylvania
Document Type
Conference Paper
Date of this Version
Copyright 2009 IEEE. Reprinted from:

Julius, A.A.; Sakar, M.S.; Steager, E.; Cheang, U.K.; MinJun Kim; Kumar, V.; Pappas, G.J., "Harnessing bacterial power in microscale actuation," Robotics and Automation, 2009. ICRA '09. IEEE International Conference on , vol., no., pp.1004-1009, 12-17 May 2009


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This paper presents a systematic analysis of the motion of microscale structures actuated by flagellated bacteria. We perform the study both experimentally and theoretically. We use a blotting procedure to attach flagellated bacteria to a buoyancy-neutral plate called a microbarge. The motion of the plate depends on the distribution of the cells on the plate and the stimuli from the environment. We construct a stochastic mathematical model for the system, based on the assumption that the behavior of each bacterium is random and independent of that of its neighbors. The main finding of the paper is that the motion of the barge plus bacteria system is a function of a very small set of parameters. This reduced-dimensional model can be easily estimated using experimental data. We show that the simulation results obtained from the model show an excellent match with the experimentally-observed motion of the barge.

  • biocontrol,
  • microorganisms,
  • microrobots,
  • motion control,
  • robot dynamics,
  • bacterial power harnessing,
  • blotting procedure,
  • buoyancy-neutral plate,
  • flagellated bacteria,
  • microbarge,
  • microscale actuation,
  • microscale structures,
  • reduced-dimensional model,
  • stochastic mathematical model,
  • biological systems,
  • flagellated bacteria,
  • microactuation
Citation Information
A. Agung Julius, M. Selman Sakar, Edward Steager, U Kei Cheang, et al.. "Harnessing bacterial power in microscale actuation" (2009)
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